To the Editor:
The State House of Representative Finance Committee took comments from many different communities on Wednesday of this week. As I sat in the LIO I listened to heart wrenching testimony about Health and Human Services and Education. The need for mental health care in our state is vast.
The funds they currently receive are insufficient to meet the needs of these fragile lives. The testimony, concerning the cuts that are being proposed, was full of tears and statistics that broke my heart.
Many communities were to give testimony during this very small window of time and Kodiak did not get to speak before the time I had to leave. I do not feel to bad about not giving my testimony about education funding, those that spoke did an amazing job testifying to the need for good public education and what damage the past two years of flat funding has caused.
I did not hear one person testify that the budget was a good one. I did not hear one person say they were in favor of the $1 billion-1.5 billion giveaway to the oil companies. I did not hear one upbeat comment.
I know that many politicians keep a tally of emails, letters, phone calls and testimony concerning a bill. They then use these counts to help drive their service to their constituents. I can only hope that Representative Austerman, sitting as the co-chair of this powerful committee, was keeping such a count. It would be obvious from such a count that the people in the trenches, doing the hard work of education and health and human services, can clearly show the damage this budget will do.
It is my belief that oil is not Alaska’s greatest resource; it is the People of Alaska that is the greatest resource. Our universities, K-12 Schools, early intervention programs, and mental health services are what enables our people to be great. It is not too late for your voice to be heard on this matter. Please contact Rep. Austerman and let him know how he should tally your vote.